Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Library News- Sept. 2003

This past summer was not as dramatic in the library as a year ago, when we changed from one library system to another. This summer was more one of refinements, enhancements, and updating, all in the name of providing the most useful and efficient library services. Another productive and busy summer for the library staff nevertheless.

Electronic reserves

One brand new service is our venture into providing some reserve materials (articles) electronically through the campus network. We will be working with a few select faculty during this first semester while we learn the system (a commercial product called Docutek) before branching out more broadly. Other schools, such as Illinois Wesleyan, are using this same system and are finding that both faculty and students are quite enthusiastic about it; and we are looking for the same result here. The system also can handle sound and image files, though these will probably not be the first things we try. I will keep you posted on the progress of this project.

Library statistics

Every year I complete a major national survey of library statistics (the library portion of the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, or IPEDS) along with responding to numerous other requests for statistical information about the library, its holdings and its services. While it is not always clear to me what these statistics mean (other than that we continue to be busy), they are always interesting nevertheless. Some observations from the year just past (2002/2003) as well as from the latest official survey (for 2001/2002).

  • The size of our collection continues to grow, although more from better reporting on what we actually own than because of any dramatic collection building. Last year's system change-over reported our actual collection to number somewhat over 210,000 volumes, and the count in June 2003 was 212,145 physical volumes (books, periodicals, videos, musical recordings, etc.). 

  • The number of physical periodicals to which we actively subscribe (that is, pay for) on the other hand is declining, this in response to the dual realities of 1) rising subscription costs coupled with a reduced budget and 2) declining in-house use coupled with more extensive use of electronic full-text articles to which we also subscribe. Two years ago we carried 787 paid subscriptions to periodicals in paper, while the number in June 2003 was 580. This number will be reduced further for the coming year (calendar 2004).

  • Circulation of our books and other physical items has remained relatively steady in recent years. In 2002/2003, we lent 32,795 items through our circulation system.

  • In terms of interlibrary loans, for many years we have lent to other institutions more than we have borrowed from them for our own users. This past year that was reversed, here due to our purchasing fewer new books while at the same time even more Millikin students and faculty are using the ease of self-initiated interlibrary loans through Illinet and OCLC. (Illinet, by the way, this year has been enhanced by the availability of an additional over three million volumes from new ILCSO members.)

  • Our instruction program remains very active, and we continue to reach about 1,000 MU students every year through CWRR, University Seminar, and subject-specific classes. This is a particularly impressive record in both relative (% of student body reached) and absolute (compared to Millikin's  peer and aspiration institutions) terms.

Earlier newsletters

Library staff

Jason and Amanda Butterick on July 8 welcomed their new son Patrick, after which Jason unexpectedly decided that he would be a stay-at-home father rather than continue working in the library as our Archival Associate. Once we caught our breath from the surprise, we were once again fortunate to be able to hire a recent Millikin graduate who had worked in the library as a student.

Cathryne Parish
Catie Parish, a 2003 Magna Cum Laude religion major who also has work experience as a Summer Youth Pastor, started in her new job on August 18th.  In addition to her work in Archives, you will also be seeing her at the Research Assistance and Circulation Desks. We are delighted to welcome her back!


Although the library's principal source of information about our resources and services remains our extensive website, sometimes paper is called for. To that end, we created half a dozen brochures over the summer, as well as ring binders designed to guide faculty in making the most of what the library has to offer. The Faculty Library Guide binders will be distributed to academic departments during faculty meetings with librarians, while the brochures are available in the library for the asking. The brochures are:

  • Millikin Student Library Services. We will be giving copies of this brochure to all freshmen and all transfer students. It describes and enumerates our resources as well as our services.

  • General Circulation Policies. Expansion of circulation information in the services brochure, with more details about overdue procedures, fines and fees. We will give this one out as needed.

  • Library Services for Millikin Alumni & Retirees

  • Use by Community Patrons. Area residents may use Staley Library in more limited ways.

  • Use by High School Students. Describes our library policies for area high school students. A companion brochure for high school teachers describes services we can provide for high school classes.

We update this list every month!

Meanwhile (and I knew you would want to know this), our Peeps page continues its march of popularity, having at last count (August 20) had 276,250 hits! We have not done any more work on the page, though we could not resist taking pictures of some of the contents of the three cases of Peeps that the Just Born company sent to us...

Wishing us all a good year!

Karin Borei
University Librarian
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL